When the door to the karaoke room opened, the sound of noisy music and laughter rushed out with a gust of cold breeze, provoking a shiver from Jian Suiying. He looked up and saw a room of no less than twenty to thirty people who started to shout as they walked in.
“Woo, woo, the birthday boy is here!”
“Birthday boy, you’re so handsome today!”
A few people walked over and surrounded them. Someone threw their arm over Jian Suilin’s shoulder while another shoved a beer into his hand before the volume of the television was quickly lowered.
Wearing a bright smile, Jian Suilin’s tone carried a bit of pride as he spoke. “Let me introduce to everyone, this is my brother.”
Jian Suiying smiled and greeted the group of teens.
A bunch of girls suddenly shrieked with excitement, “Your older brother is so handsome!”
Jian Suiying’s eyes unconsciously leaped to Li Yu and remained there for some time.
Li Yu was completely unaware of him as he hung his hand on Jian Suilin’s arm and faintly smiled. “First down first.”
But Jian Suilin rushed to Jian Suiying instead. “Ge, sit down first. What do you want to drink?”
“Water is fine.” Jian Suiying’s brows pleated as he looked at the people in the room only to see that the young ladies’ expressions were particularly frightening. Aside from his brother and Li Yu, there was no other that was up to par with his standards. For a moment, he actually did not know where he could sit.
He looked at Li Yu and decided that wherever Li Yu sat, he would sit there. Since he only came in because of Li Yu, if he didn’t take the chance to get close to him, it would surely not be worthwhile.
At that moment, a very lovely young lady placed a box on a big table and opened it, revealing a birthday cake.
Normally, Li Yu didn’t look like a lively person. However, now, he placed the candles on the cake, arranged for everyone to sit down, instructed people to turn the lights off, and had even taken the lead to sing, ‘Happy Birthday’.
Jian Suiying discovered that Li Yu had great organizational leadership skills. Although he did not talk much, everyone consciously moved according to his plan when he did talk. The noisy room immediately became quiet as everyone surrounded Jian Suilin and sang to him.
Under the glow of the feeble light from the candles, Jian Suilin’s face appeared especially soft and elegant. Li Yu quietly looked at him and found that he could not shift his eyes away. Fortunately, the light was not bright enough, so no one took notice of his peculiarity.
After Jian Suilin made a wish and blew out the candles, he cut the cake and gave the first piece to Jian Suiying.
Jian Suiying had always disliked eating such sweet things. He simply frowned and glanced at it for a second before reluctantly taking it.
Jian Suilin smiled and gave Li Yu the piece with a large strawberry on it. “Come on, brother.”1
A gentle smile appeared on Li Yu’s lips – a smile that was caught by Jian Suiying who drooled internally.
Since it was Jian Suilin’s birthday, Jian Suiying forced himself to eat a few bites of the cake and then placed the plate down. To be honest, being with a group of teens that were around eight or nine years younger than him was weird and awkward. He was not a kindergarten teacher; how could he sit still and enjoy anything. He sighed, feeling a bit regretful for coming in.
After they finished their cake, they started to each give the birthday boy their presents to him—it seemed like Jian Suilin had a pretty good relationship with everyone at school.
Taking the chance that the seats were empty, a courageous young lady sat down beside Jian Suiying and struck up a conversation with him.
Jian Suiying didn’t really pay attention to her, but rather, he wanted to see what Li Yu’s gift to Jian Suilin was. He glanced at the case and thought that it might be a cellphone. When the case was opened, Jian Suiying leaned in closer, and as expected, it was a cellphone.
Jian Suilin looked at Li Yu and laughed. “Hey, this is the same as yours.”
Li Yu also laughed, “Didn’t you say mine was easy to use?”
Jian Suilin cheerfully placed it in his pocket, “Thanks.”
Jian Suiying had thought that someone with a pretty astute mind like Li Yu would get something more creative, but in the end, he was a bit disappointed – even the last thing that made him interested passed by so simply. By now, Jian Sui Yin did not want to stay even a second longer.
It was already the wrong decision for him to come in, if he didn’t quickly leave, it would be an even graver mistake.
As a result, Jian Suiying stood up and walked to Jian Suilin who was singing. “Xiao Linzi, I’m heading out first.”
Jian Suilin froze and hurriedly handed the microphone to the person beside him. “Ge, why are you leaving? You haven’t even sat down for ten minutes.”
Jian Suiying was slightly impatient, “What would I do sitting here? Don’t waste my time.”
A trace of disappointment flashed through Jian Suilin’s eyes, “Then… then, I’ll walk you out.”
Jian Suiying simply waved his hand, “There’s no need, you can stay.”
Just as Jian Suilin wanted to say something else, Li Yu spoke: “You should stay here. I’ll walk your brother out.”
It seemed that Jian Suiying got exactly what he wanted with just a few words—better yet that it did not come out of his mouth. He quickly added, “That’s right, don’t move. It doesn’t look good if you leave with everyone you invited here.”
When Li Yu made a gesture toward the door, Jian Suiying casually said his goodbyes to the teens and walked out without looking back.
On the way to the parking lot, Jian Suiying said: “Xiao Lin Zi has a pretty good relationship with everyone at school, huh? He invited so many people.”
Who knew what Li Yu was thinking when he carelessly answered, “Pretty good.”
“How long haven’t you seen each other? Seeing how good your relationship with him is, it seems like you’ve been with each other for more than ten years.”
“Since I left in elementary school, we haven’t met in nearly a decade, but we’ve always kept in contact.”
“Oh, you two have been good since back then?”
“Mm, we used to play together often.”
“Really? How come I don’t have any impression of you?”
A hint of sarcasm settled at the corner of Li Yi’s lips, “The age difference is too big, and you never played with Sui Lin.”
As the two arrived at the parking lot, Jian Suiying looked around at the deserted place —there was a ticklish sensation in his heart, but he pushed it aside. He teased, “Even if I saw you, you were still a kid back then. Who would have known you would grow up to be such a handsome young man. Boys really do change when they hit eighteen. Ha, ha.”
Li Yu lightly smiled, lowered his head, and put out the sparkling cigarette butt on the ground with his shoes. “Jian-ge, you didn’t know today was Sui Lin’s birthday.”
“Ah, I didn’t remember.” Jian Suiying absent-mindedly said.
Li Yu lifted his head, his clear and dark eyes stared at Jian Suiying. “You didn’t even say ‘happy birthday’ to him today.”
“Oh, I didn’t?” Jian Suiying couldn’t recall whether he had said it or not. But he came today and gave him a red envelope, so was it crucial for him to say it?
Li Yu indifferently said, “Sui Lin has always adored you since he was a kid. Since you came, say happy birthday to him, it would mean more than anything you gave him.”
Jian Suiying was not accustomed to that kind of warm-hearted story. He had already given him 180,000 of pocket money, was there really a need to discuss pragmatic nonsense? He felt that he had thought a bit too highly of Li Yu; those words were really like that of a child.
Jian Suiying chuckled and simply said, “Adore? You… forget it, we don’t get along like you think we do.”
Li Yu opened his mouth, but ultimately swallowed the accusation and persistently said: “Jian-ge, at least send him a message to say happy birthday.”
Jian Suiying felt that it was quite laughable. These two boys’ relationship was pretty good. He couldn’t remember if he was that cute and innocent when he was 17 or 18 years old.
“Okay, okay, Jian-ge will listen to you.” Jian Suiying smiled and winked at Li Yi before he fished out his cell phone and sent Jian Suilin a message.
“Xiao Lin Zi, happy birthday – your Ge.”
After about ten seconds, he received a reply. “Thank you Ge! I’m very happy that you were here today.”
Glancing down at the cell phone, Jian Suiying then looked up at Li Yu with a smile. “Satisfied?”
Li Yu nodded, “Thank you.”
Jian Suiying laughed while shaking his head. He opened the car door, but before he went in, he pulled his foot back out and turned his head back to Li Yu. “Once you guys are done with exams, I’ll take you both out. When the time comes, give Jian-ge some face, ah.”
“Okay, no problem.” Li Yu replied, looking at him without hesitation.
Jian Suiying hummed a song and drove away.
1 brother [兄弟 xiōngdì] – a term used to describe brothers or close friends; in our case, close friends; it’s like calling someone ‘bro’